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Turkey’s top court says rights of academics who signed peace petition violated

Protesters hold scarfes reading " Do not touch my University- Do not touch my Academics" on December 5, 2017 in front of Istanbul's courthouse, during a demonstration in support of a group of academics charged with terror offences for signing a petition almost two years ago calling for peace in the Kurdish-dominated southeast. Over 1,120 Turkish and also foreign academics initially signed the petition which denounced the actions of Turkey's military in the southeast where deadly clashes had erupted with outlawed Kurdish militants in 2015. The first 10 academics charged -- from Istanbul University and Galatasaray University -- went on trial on December 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Friday said the rights of academics who were dismissed or prosecuted for signing a “peace petition” were violated, the T24 news website reported.

The decision was made by Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan’s tie-breaking vote. The top court also ordered the government to pay TL 9,000 in damages to each of the nine academics who appealed.

Many of the 1,128 Turkish academics who signed the petition calling on the Turkish government to halt military operations in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of the country in 2016 have been dismissed from their positions, sentenced to prison or face an overseas travel ban.

After the academics were targeted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for having signed the petition, more academics decided to sign it in an act of solidarity.

According to the Evrensel daily, 784 of the academics currently have trials pending.

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